Sometimes I hear some younger preachers speak in disrespectful tones of some of our older preachers or of preaching of the past. It sort of makes my blood boil. I know none of them were perfect and all of them had blind areas but most sacrificed so hard and stood so strong as to give us so much of what we have today.
I was talking to a friend recently and he was telling me about a conversation he had a few years ago with a deacon. The deacon was talking about their Sunday night services. The church had gotten Jim Bill McInteer, yes, brother Jim Bill! This guy was explaining why he didn’t go to church on Sunday nights and it went something like this: “I’m a busy man, I’ve got lots to do, and I’ve got teenage sons. If you want me there you’ve got to give me something more than Jim Bill McInteer!” Wow! Are you kidding me? It took me immediately to an event in my life nearly 30 years ago.
I wish I remember more of the details but I’ll give it as I can. It was about 1970-71 so I would have been 8 or 9 years old. While dad did a lot of meetings we rarely traveled with him. I can remember a handful of those times just dad and I. Once going to East Walker when he was holding a meeting there and him asking me to check him as he quoted Ephesians 4. Once him taking me to kindergarten and him singing a note and then asking me to follow him - that was the day I realized I was tone deaf! He would say “now sing higher” and all I could do was sing louder - must have been a sad day of realization for a man with such a beautiful singing voice (well, at least both my boys got awesome singing voices). OK, back to point Jenkins.
For some reason that Sunday night the whole family was together and dad WASN’T preaching. I can remember that happening only one other time in all my growing up years. That OTHER time was when we went on a vacation to Chattanooga (dad didn’t do vacations) and when we pulled up to the Red Bank church building the people were coming OUT. He had forgotten the time difference between Alabama and east Tennessee so we’d missed. It was party city for us kids. Dad said, “well, we’ll just go to the hotel and have a service there” and then mom added “and if nobodies in the pool, afterward ya’ll (mom was afraid of the water) can go swimming!” Woohoo! A quick devo and we’re in the water! Or so I thought. I remember that night we had about a 2 hours worship service in the hotel. Dad’s idea of a makeup devo and our’s was entirely different. OK, back to point Jenkins.
The whole family was together. We were heading back from somewhere, maybe Jeff or Carey remember where, I don’t. We stopped in at the Sixth Avenue Church of Christ. As we were getting out of the car and walking across the parking lot to go in, I was 8 or 9 remember, dad said: “Tonight you are probably going to meet the greatest man you will ever meet in your life.” That was it. That was all. Now, how do you think I listened to that boring old man that night? I hung on every word. I was on the edge of my seat. And when afterward I got to shake his hand, I remember thinking, for the only time in my life that I have ever had this thought (and for those of you who know my hand washing sickness :) you’ll be amazed), “I will never wash my hand again!”
Now, as it turns out, dad wasn’t a long way away from being correct. But here’s my simple little point. That “deacon” who just knew his kids couldn’t get anything out of hearing Jim Bill McInteer (did I mention it was Jim Bill McInteer?) was at fault! If we as parents degrade men of God. If we belittle the preaching and teaching of the word of God. If we do not appreciate the “beautiful feet” of those who “bring glad tidings” then our kids will be bored and disinterested in the same. We turn, we train, we direct even our kids interest. If our first love is college football they will idolize the coach and the player. If our first love is the Lord we will idolize His Family and His Word.
Who are you preparing your kids to hear?